Organic Chebureki Recipe
Chebureki is an old Slavic recipe and still very popular in Eastern Europe. These deep fried creations resemble empanadas, just bigger, and are not known as a healthy food. However, if you don’t make them all the time and use only organic ingredients, they can be a very nice guilty pleasure. And we all need some guilty pleasures to stay sane during the days and months of corona.
I used to think that making chebureki is very difficult as I was watching my Russian mother in law make them and then clean the entire kitchen of shooting oil. Needless to say, my husband loves this dish because it reminds him of his childhood. My kids love it because it reminds them of their grandmother. I love it because it’s not complicated to make and it’s fried in oil, which is heaven.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in making the delicious golden chebureki:
Ingredients for the dough:
- ½ of 5lbs bag of organic all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur whole wheat mixed with all-purpose)
- 1 organic egg
- A pinch of salt
- 2 cups of water
- Organic olive oil for frying
Ingredients for meat:
- 1 package of organic ground beef
- ½ of organic sweet onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2/3 cup of organic kefir
I always start by making the meat for stuffing first.
Simply put the meat, chopped onion, minced garlic, kefir, and seasoning in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
It is very important to put enough salt, but avoid over-salting. Put a spoon in the meat and let it sit until the dough is ready.
The dough can seem intimidating the first time you try, but it’s really not that complicated. You will need a pretty big space for kneading. I use my wiped clean counter top. Having a special board for dough would help too.
Pour the heap of flour right in the middle of your surface, crack one egg, put a pinch of salt, and pour about ½ cup water. Start folding it and keep adding water. The dough will stick to your hands and will spill all over the place, but remain patient. This amount of flour usually takes about 2 cups of water for me, but it might be different if you use different flour.
Keep adding a little bit of water until the dough starts taking shape and no crumbs are left on your surface. Keep kneading until the dough is elastic and stretchy, but doesn’t stick to your hands. Whatever flour is already on your hands will have to be washed off, but when new layers stop sticking, you will know that it’s ready.
Set the dough aside and cover with a plastic bag to prevent drying up.
I like to make 6 chebureki before heating up the frying pan with oil, because they cook pretty fast and it’s hard to keep up.
To make a cheburek, take a round ball of dough, the size of an egg, flatten it and roll out as thin as you can.
It will take a few tries, but you will get a hang of it pretty fast.
Once the dough is rolled out, put a spoonful of meat right in the middle and close it, bending like an envelope.
Press out the air bubble and seal the edges with a fork.
Once you make about 6 of those, heat the frying pan with oil on medium heat for a few minutes. My frying pan can handle 3 chebureki at a time. They shouldn’t touch one another and have room for flipping. The depth of oil should be about 1 cm, don’t fill it up too much.
Each cheburek cooks for about 1.5 minutes on each side. If you think that they brown too fast, reduce the heat because you want them to cook through slowly. When they fry slower, they become golden brown and juicy inside.
As one batch is cooking, keep making more. Once out of the pan, put chebureki on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
I use beef that is not too lean; otherwise the meat will be dry and won’t produce juice. I once tried pork and it wasn’t good at all. It is also very important that there are no holes in your dough or the meat liquid will leak out and the oil will splash all over your kitchen, which happens to my mother in law quite a bit.
Don’t be discouraged if your dough won’t come out perfect the first time, just keep trying and adjusting the ratio of water and flour until you’ll get it perfect. Enjoy, don’t overeat, and stay safe!